By Agathe Vanmassenhove || Sports Reporter
On Wednesday, November 22, 2023, Javier Tebas, the president of the Spanish soccer league La Liga, resigned. This resignation is not unexpected in the Spanish soccer world considering elections for the presidency were supposed to be held at the end of the year, with the end of Teba’s mandate initially planned on December 23, 2023. His resignation will lead to an early election process in which he will present himself as a candidate once again.
He released a statement on X: “A few minutes ago I presented my resignation as President of @LaLiga before the end of my term, which ended on December 23. A new electoral process will open in which I will present myself, so I will request the endorsement and trust of the clubs to take on the challenges at hand.”
Javier Tebas was a former lawyer before he became the president of La Liga in 2013. Before his resignation, he was on his third mandate and is now the only candidate for his succession. It wasn’t the first time Javier Tebas used this resignation technique to hold elections earlier. In 2019, Tebas resigned from his position, stating that the TV rights negotiations for the league would have been too close to the presidential election. However, Tebas has still not given a reason for his most recent resignation two weeks ago. Without any candidates running against him, Tebas is set to be elected for his fourth consecutive four-year term.
Javier Tebas has been respected by most clubs in La Liga but has been under some controversy over the past few years concerning his extreme rules about financial fair play, setting restrictions on the registration of players for the club. This tight procedure has been criticized recently, especially by FC Barcelona, as they lost international soccer star Lionel Messi in 2021 because they couldn’t meet the financial fair-play requirement. The rule was also accused of making La Liga less attractive than before, but this was mainly based on Messi’s departure.
FC Barcelona has a complicated relationship with Javier Tebas past their disagreement about Messi. The Catalan club was accused of corruption during the Negreira case that started in February 2023. It was found that the Catalan club had paid 7 million euros to José Maria Enriquez Negreira, the former vice president of the referee committee of La Liga. During the investigation, Javier Tebas was accused of providing fake evidence against FC Barcelona, presenting a letter to prosecutors that was not related to the case. Tebas also openly supports Real Madrid, FC Barcelona’s biggest rival in soccer, further fueling criticisms.
Real Madrid and Barcelona’s rivalry runs deeper than just soccer, as the teams represent politically-charged areas. FC Barcelona represents the region of Spain Cataluña, that has been fighting for independence from Spain, while Real Madrid is the club of Spanish royalty. Following the supposed false accusations from Javier Tebas, FC Barcelona requested in a statement for the president to resign. In a press conference, Barcelona also mentioned that if a club had been helped by referees it would’ve been Real Madrid as it has always been the club of the crown and Franco’s club, the Spanish dictator from 1936 to 1975. Tebas along with Joan Laporta and Florentino Perez, the FC Barcelona and Real Madrid presidents, has been embroiled in a public argument on the matter. This eventually led Real Madrid to post a video on social media accusing FC Barcelona of being Franco’s club while stating that Cataluña was a repressed region due to its Catalan identity not corresponding to Spanish nationalism. It seems that both clubs are attempting to manipulate history to make their opponent look worse, which has resulted in both teams being criticized by the media.
Despite these recent controversies in La Liga, Javier Tebas should still be there during the next four years to preside over the Spanish league. Hopefully, his next term will be less eventful, and less controversial.
Sophomore Agathe Vanmassenhove is a Sports Reporter. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org